Ruling on celebrating the Night of Israa and Mi`raaj
While interacting with my students, when I told them that there is no value attached to celebrating the Night of Israa and Me’raaj, some students asked: Sir, why then Muslim governments declare holiday on this occasion? It is to commemorate the occasion, not celebrate it.
Well, I thought of sharing this beautiful piece of information with you, dear readers.
“All praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family and Companions.
There is no doubt that Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension to Heaven) are among Allah’s Great Signs that testify to the truthfulness of His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his great status in the Sight of Allah (Exalted be He). They are also signs of Allah’s Awe-Inspiring Power and His Exaltation above all His creation.
Allah (Glorified be He) says:
“Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allâh) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him] Who took His slave (Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid-al-Aqsâ (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) of Our Ayât (proofs, evidence, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. “(Surah al Isra 17: 1)
It was reported by Tawatur (a significant number of narrators whose agreement upon a lie is impossible) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was taken up to the heavens and their gates were opened for him until he went beyond the Seventh Heaven. There Allah (Glorified be He) spoke to him about what He willed and enjoined the Five Daily Salahs (Prayers) upon him. Allah (Exalted be He) first enjoined fifty Salahs, but our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) kept returning and asking Him to lighten the duty, until Allah reduced them to five in number, but fifty in reward, because a good deed earns a tenfold reward. All praise and thanks to Allah for all His Blessings.
The night on which the Isra’ and the Mi`raj occurred has not been reported in authentic Hadiths as having been in the month of Rajab nor in any other specific month. All that has been reported concerning a specific date for this event is not authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him), according to the Hadith scholars.
There must be a great wisdom why Allah made people forget the exact night of Isra’ and Mi`raj; but even if it were specified, still it would not be permissible for Muslims to perform specific acts of `Ibadah (worship) on this night or celebrate it. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sahabah (Companions, may Allah be pleased with them) did not celebrate it or perform specific acts of `Ibadah on it.
If celebrating this night was prescribed in Islam, the Messenger (peace be upon him) would have made it known to the Muslim Ummah (nation based on one creed) either in words or in deeds. If anything of this was observed on this night, it would be known by all Muslims and would have been transmitted to us by the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them), as they transmitted from the Prophet (peace be upon him) everything that the Muslim Ummah needs, and they never neglected anything related to the religion. In fact, they were the forerunners to every good act, so if celebrating the Night of Isra’ and Mi`raj was lawful, they would have been the first people to do so.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the sincerest giver of advice to people; he perfectly conveyed the Message of Islam and fulfilled the trust. If honoring this night and celebrating it was part of the Religion of Allah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would never have concealed or neglected it. Since nothing of this happened, it is understood that celebrating and honoring this night is not part of Islam at all.
Allah (Glorified be He) has perfected the Religion for the Muslim Ummah and completed His Favors upon them. Moreover, Allah (Glorified be He) condemns those who introduce into the religion things He has not ordained. Allah (Glorified be He) says in Surah Al-Ma’idah:
This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islâm as your religion.
Allah (Exalted be He) also says in Surah Al-Shura: Or have they partners with Allâh (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allâh has not ordained? And had it not been for a decisive Word (gone forth already), the matter would have been judged between them. And verily, for the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers) there is a painful torment.
It was authentically reported in Hadith Sahih that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) warned against Bid`ah (innovation in religion), and clearly stated that it is a deviation from the right path, so as to caution the Ummah against the great danger of Bid`ah and to steer them away from committing it.
It was authentically reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected.
According to the narration by Muslim: Anyone who does an action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.
It was also related in “Sahih Muslim”, on the authority of Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would say in the Friday Khutbah (sermon): The best of speech is the Book of Allah, the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him), the most evil of matters are those which are newly-invented (in religion), and every Bid`ah is a Dalalah (deviation from the right). Al-Nasa’y added through a sound Sanad (chain of narration): …and every Dalalah will be in the Fire.
It was related in the Sunan (Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes) on the authority of Al-`Irbad ibn Sariyah (may Allah be pleased with him) that The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) one day led us in Salah (prayer) then he faced us and gave us an earnest exhortation that caused our eyes to flow with tears and our hearts to ….??
He (peace be upon him) said, ‘I advise you to fear Allah, and to listen and obey, even if it is an Ethiopian slave (appointed as a ruler over you). Whosoever among you shall live after me shall see much difference. So I urge you to adhere to my Sunnah (way) and the Sunnah of the righteous, Rightly-guided Caliphs. Hold fast to it and bite onto it with your molars (i.e. cling firmly to it). Beware of newly-invented matters (in religion), for every newly-invented matter is a Bid`ah, and every Bid`ah is a Dalalah (deviation from the right).’
There are many Hadith with the same meaning. It was authentically reported that the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) and the righteous Salaf (righteous predecessors) after them warned against Bid`ah and scared people away from committing it, as they are additions to the religion unsanctioned by Allah (Glorified be He).
It is treading the same path of the enemies of Allah from among the Jews and the Christians in the additions and innovations they inserted into their religion, which Allah has not ordained. It also implies that there is something lacking in Islam and accuses it of being imperfect.
It is well known what this involves great corruption and evil, and stands as a denial of the Words of Allah (Exalted be He): This day, I have perfected your religion for you It is also an open violation of the Hadith of the Messenger (peace be upon him) that warn against Bid`ah and exhort people to shun it.
Someone said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, it is like a farewell exhortation, so what do you advise us to do.’
I hope that the evidence we have quoted is sufficient to convince truth seekers to refute this Bid`ah, namely, the Bid`ah of celebrating the Night of Isra’ and Mi`raj, and warn them against it, as it has nothing to do with the religion of Islam.
As Allah has obligated Muslims to advise one another and to explain His ordained Religion, and has forbidden us from concealing knowledge, I felt it my duty to warn my Muslim brothers against this Bid`ah, which, as it has spread into many countries, some people think it is part of the religion. May Allah (Exalted be He) set right the affairs of Muslims, and grant them understanding of the religion. May Allah help us and them to adhere to truth and be firm upon it and avoid all that opposes it, as Allah is the Patron and the One Able to do this. May peace and blessings be upon His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family and Companions.”